Nav: Home

How sex affects gene expression in mammals

July 18, 2019

Researchers report the discovery of genome-wide variations in gene expression between mammalian females and males and offer new insights into the molecular origins and evolution of sexual dimorphism in mammal species, according to a new study. The findings could help explain the wide range of sex-specific differences in human health and disease. Female and male mammals often exhibit a variety of differences in biological processes and phenotypic traits. For example, in most mammal species males are larger than females, and because sex differences appear common across many species, animal models are often used to investigate sex-biased traits and diseases in humans. However, the effects of sex on gene expression, particularly in autosomal genes, aren't well known. To investigate how sex affects the genome, Sahin Naqvi and colleagues performed a genome-wide, multi-tissue and comparative survey of sex-biased gene expression across five mammalian species. Naqvi et al. collected RNA sequencing data from male and female macaques, mice, rats and dogs for 12 different tissues which represented each germ layer as well as most major organ systems. Non-human data was compared to corresponding human RNA-seq data from the Genotype Tissue Expression Consortium (GTEx), which catalogs gene expression across all major tissues in the human body. The comparative analyses revealed hundreds of conserved sex-biased gene expressions in each tissue, which contribute to differences in traits between the sexes. For example, nearly 12% of the sex difference observed in average human height can be accounted for through conserved sex biases in gene expression. The results also show, however, that most sex bias in gene expression is an evolutionarily recent adaptation and thus is not shared between all mammalian lineages - findings which warrant careful attention in the use of non-human models of sex differences.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Species Articles:

One species, many origins
In a paper published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, a group of researchers argue that our evolutionary past must be understood as the outcome of dynamic changes in connectivity, or gene flow, between early humans scattered across Africa.
Species on the move
A total of 55 animal species in the UK have been displaced from their natural ranges or enabled to arrive for the first time on UK shores because of climate change over the last 10 years (2008-2018) -- as revealed in a new study published today by scientists at international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London).
Chasing species' 'intactness'
In an effort to better protect the world's last ecologically intact ecosystems, researchers developed a new metric called 'The Last of the Wild in Each Ecoregion' (LWE), which aimed to quantify the most intact parts of each ecoregion.
How do species adapt to their surroundings?
Several fish species can change sex as needed. Other species adapt to their surroundings by living long lives -- or by living shorter lives and having lots of offspring.
Five new frog species from Madagascar
Scientists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich and the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology have named five new species of frogs found across the island of Madagascar.
How new species arise in the sea
How can a species split into several new species if they still live close to each other and are able to interbreed?
How new species emerge
International research team reconstructs the evolutionary history of baboons.
What makes two species different?
For most of the 20th century, scientists believed that the reproductive incompatibility between species evolved gradually as a by-product of adapting to different environments.
Monitoring species: Are we looking long enough?
To conserve species, managers need reliable estimates of their population trends.
Human environmental effects favor cosmopolitan species over local iconic species
Human habitat modification is favoring the same species everywhere, while unique species are disappearing, finds a study publishing on Dec.
More Species News and Species Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Risk
Why do we revere risk-takers, even when their actions terrify us? Why are some better at taking risks than others? This hour, TED speakers explore the alluring, dangerous, and calculated sides of risk. Guests include professional rock climber Alex Honnold, economist Mariana Mazzucato, psychology researcher Kashfia Rahman, structural engineer and bridge designer Ian Firth, and risk intelligence expert Dylan Evans.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#541 Wayfinding
These days when we want to know where we are or how to get where we want to go, most of us will pull out a smart phone with a built-in GPS and map app. Some of us old timers might still use an old school paper map from time to time. But we didn't always used to lean so heavily on maps and technology, and in some remote places of the world some people still navigate and wayfind their way without the aid of these tools... and in some cases do better without them. This week, host Rachelle Saunders...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dolly Parton's America: Neon Moss
Today on Radiolab, we're bringing you the fourth episode of Jad's special series, Dolly Parton's America. In this episode, Jad goes back up the mountain to visit Dolly's actual Tennessee mountain home, where she tells stories about her first trips out of the holler. Back on the mountaintop, standing under the rain by the Little Pigeon River, the trip triggers memories of Jad's first visit to his father's childhood home, and opens the gateway to dizzying stories of music and migration. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.